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Shogun
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Using DB15 VGA ports to get RGB out of consoles

by Shogun Fri Oct 03, 2014 5:25 pm

One of these days I am planning on modding most of my consoles for RGB output. The whole project is a pain in the ass. It seems really expensive to go the SCART route in the US. I have like 4-5 euro scart cables and an SCART switchbox already. My original plan was to make my own scart cables for each system using a donor cable. This path looks to be pretty expensive. Not all consoles have quality cables readily available.

So my next thought was why not just mod each console with a db15 port on the back and run vga cables through the whole thing. I don't see many guides or posts on forums of people doing this. There is the DB9 guide on gamesx but I figure a db15 is more common and easier to get a hold of. Is there a reason more people don't go this route? Is there something I'm missing that would make using a db15 not feasible?
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Ziggy587
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Re: Using DB15 VGA ports to get RGB out of consoles

by Ziggy587 Fri Oct 03, 2014 6:11 pm

No, there's no problem doing it that way.

When I read the thread title I thought you were gonna ask if you could the RGB output from consoles with a VGA input on a TV/monitor.

You're looking to do it this way so you can just use standard VGA cables instead of having to make your own? That's not a bad idea. The DB connection is kind of a pain in the ass though. It's not the easiest thing to cut a hole to panel mount, and it's pretty bulky. 15 pins would be enough for RGB, audio, and then some.

Personally, I would rather use a DIN or min-DIN connection. A 9-pin mini-DIN would be perfect, and they're pretty standard so they're readily available to get panel mount jacks and cable plugs for. You'd have to make your own cables, but they wouldn't be as heavy as a VGA cable. And the connection wouldn't be as bulky. It's all up to you, but that's my own two cents.

Also, if you go the 9-pin mini-DIN route, you can use the same pinout the XRGB mini uses. So if you ever get one in the future, you could just use straight through cables for it.
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Shogun
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Re: Using DB15 VGA ports to get RGB out of consoles

by Shogun Fri Oct 03, 2014 6:19 pm

Ziggy587 wrote:
Personally, I would rather use a DIN or min-DIN connection.


Thats a good idea! I didn't know the framemeister had a mini-din on it.

WHat would you do about a switch box though? Are mini-din switch boxes common? The idea behind the db15 was to go console > db15 cable > db15 switch box > db15 cable to HDTV or trisync monitor.
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Ziggy587
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Re: Using DB15 VGA ports to get RGB out of consoles

by Ziggy587 Sat Oct 04, 2014 10:43 am

Shogun wrote:I didn't know the framemeister had a mini-din on it.


Yeah, they wanted to make the Framemeister as small as possible, I guess. A SCART input is too big. Their solution was to use a mini-DIN input and include an adapter to SCART.

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I don't really like this because the SCART connection is big and bulky, and it puts stress on the mini-DIN connection.

Shogun wrote:WHat would you do about a switch box though? Are mini-din switch boxes common? The idea behind the db15 was to go console > db15 cable > db15 switch box > db15 cable to HDTV or trisync monitor.


Well I don't really use any switch boxes with my setup. I have an AVR for my HDTV, and that does the bulk of my AV switching. For the Framemeister, currently I'm just plugging in cables as I need them. For my SDTV in the man cave, I just use the TV's front AV inputs and plug in consoles as I use them. With a dozen or so consoles in the man cave, I can't be bothered with switch boxes.

If you wanted to go the mini-DIN route, I suppose you could build a switch box, if you have the know how. You could use switches like these: http://www.digikey.com/product-detail/e ... -ND/417520
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Re: Using DB15 VGA ports to get RGB out of consoles

by samsonlonghair Sat Oct 04, 2014 11:24 am

Ziggy587 wrote:When I read the thread title I thought you were gonna ask if you could the RGB output from consoles with a VGA input on a TV/monitor.

So... Since you brought it up, can you? I have been thinking about this for the last few days. VGA utilizes an RGB colorspace, right? Some retro consoles (I'm thinking of Genesis, but it's not alone) support RGB SCART output. Rather than going console-->SCART-->YUV transcoder-->component-->monitor, wouldn't it make more sense to go console-->VGA-->monitor? I hear the sync is different; is this an insurmountable problem or a minor nuisance?

I freely admit my ignorance on the subject. Feel free to tell me how/why we are not doing this already.
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Re: Using DB15 VGA ports to get RGB out of consoles

by Shogun Sat Oct 04, 2014 11:52 am

You'd still need a sync stripper to seperate the sync signal. My NEC is like that I believe. SO you'd need to go console > vga > sync stripper > tv. As far as I know VGA should be able to handle 15khz to 31khz.

You can buy sync strippers online or if you can solder you can build one yourself. They are very simple and if you've ever put together anything with electronics you can probably do this. I haven't gotten around to building it yet but my favorite is this design shown at the bottom of this website: http://www.mmmonkey.co.uk/composite-syn ... er-lm1881/
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Ziggy587
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Re: Using DB15 VGA ports to get RGB out of consoles

by Ziggy587 Sat Oct 04, 2014 1:27 pm

If you're outputting to an HDTV, I say go with the XRGB mini all day. The some what high price point puts people off, but I could have bought one with all the money I spent wasted on cheaper alternatives.
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ApolloBoy
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Re: Using DB15 VGA ports to get RGB out of consoles

by ApolloBoy Sun Oct 05, 2014 2:06 pm

Shogun wrote:Is there a reason more people don't go this route?

Because it's a PITA to do and some consoles don't even have room to mount an HD-15 connector.
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Re: Using DB15 VGA ports to get RGB out of consoles

by Cronozilla Sun Oct 05, 2014 6:04 pm

VGA switch isn't a bad idea, but they're generally not built well. The lines you'd want to rely on are not generally all shielded all the way through the device. So, it's a real hunt to find one that will transmit your signals without interference.

I know this isn't a proper solution, but if you want a somewhat simple solution, you don't necessarily need a video switch, you can actually combine the signals together until it's been condensed down to a single socket and then just be cognizant you can't turn on more than one console at a time (Well, shouldn't, you could physically and the signals would just combine. The only worry there is if the current output of the combined signals is too high). It'll have the same behavior as an auto-switch.

I'm not sure which pin number the upscaler uses, I would assume it's a Mini-DIN 6 port, since the RGB with audio would generally be six signals, and it's very common since it's also PS/2 standard. Splitters are about $6, a M to F cable is like $4. If you're hooking up 8 modded systems, you'd only need 7 splitters and, probably an additional cable, that's like $46. Which is far cheaper than any SCART switch.

There's ways to do this properly in a circuit, if you were to build your own switch, or you could chain against multiple selector switches. But they really just make sure to not mix signals. But if you can consciously say, yeah I'm not turning on more than once, then this'll do the same thing. Though this might be a bit cheaper to build in switch form, even with proper auto-selector behavior. Depends on how much work you want to do.
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ApolloBoy
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Re: Using DB15 VGA ports to get RGB out of consoles

by ApolloBoy Sun Oct 05, 2014 7:50 pm

Cronozilla wrote:I'm not sure which pin number the upscaler uses, I would assume it's a Mini-DIN 6 port

The Framemeister actually uses an 8-pin mini-DIN.
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